On March 4, Tesla founder, Elon Musk made a comment on social media that made many Model 3 China owners unhappy. Musk said that “It’s very strange that those complaining owners have not actually installed FSD. Maybe they have realized that even if you choose FSD after buying a car, you can still upgrade to autonomous driving hardware 3.0 for free.”
A netizen nicknamed XIXIXXMLGB who claims to be the Tesla owner in Suzhou China named Shawn Shen, has authored an article entitled “Tesla secretly downgrades the chip to anger Chinese consumers.” He said that on China’s environmental protection list, the Model 3 is listed as equipped with auto driving 3.0 hardware, “but the car delivered to me is equipped with auto driving 2.5 hardware. This has violated Chinese law.” Two photos accompanied the article as evidence.
Musk also responded to a comment made regarding downgrade of auto-driving chips on social media but not before Tesla officials commented on March 3 that the company would replace all Chinese Model 3 units equipped with autonomous driving hardware 2.5 as per specified in the environmental protection list. The incident added to the already hot discussion as the Chinese Model 3 owners expressed that the actual car and the purchase list specifications do not match. The replacement also requires the owner to avail of after-sales service, which is time-consuming and laborious. The fact that the official statement did not mention the free upgrade plan for imported Model 3 units further added to the dissatisfaction of Model 3 owners.
Some lawyers proposed that the owners of the Model 3 units who were involved in the configuration downgrade in the forum be sued. On the other hand, some Chinese Model 3 owners have taken action to collect evidence in preparation for the collective appeal. The incident has also been a cause of concern for some relevant national departments. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (China) questioned Tesla on March 10. It then ordered it to immediately rectify its shortcomings in accordance with the relevant provisions of the “Administrative Measures for Road Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Product Access” and effectively fulfill the main corporate responsibility to ensure production consistency as well as product quality and safety.”